US NEWS: Best Buy, Netflix side with Blu-ray

Two major US companies have increased their support for Blu-ray, in moves which seem likely to further threaten the rival HD DVD format.

Retailing giant Best Buy say that its stores will be "prominently showcasing" Blu-ray from next month, while online movie rental company Netflix will be ditching HD DVD by the end of this year.

Best Buy, which has more than 1200 stores in the USA, Canada and China, says the move has been taken to give consumers direction and clear up format confusion. Brian Dunn, the company's president, says that "Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way. We’ve listened to our customers, and we are responding.

"Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format. Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them."

The company will continue to stock an assortment of HD DVD products for those customers who choose to swim against its tide, but Dunn says that "Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices.

"Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products.”

Netflix, which has over six million subscribers for its mail order operation, has announced that it will no longer buy HD DVD titles, and expects to have phased the format out from its online rental service by the end of this year.

The company says that “We're now at the point where the industry can pursue the migration to a single format. We expect that all of the studios will publish in the Blu-ray format and that the price points of high-def DVD players will come down significantly."

Technorati Tags: Blu-ray, HD DVD

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.